Yemen: US drone strikes kill 8 suspected militants


A militant suspected of being a member of Al-Qaeda sits at a checkpoint in Azan in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa.



Eight suspected militants were killed in Yemen on Friday by a US drone strike, according to Reuters.

A Yemeni official confirmed the news of the air strike in a remote part of Hadramawt, the third such strike this week. The defense ministry said the eight were members of Al Qaeda, heavily armed with carrying machine guns and explosives.

Military officials said it was an airstrike which took out the vehicle carrying the suspected militants, according to the Associated Press. Seven other suspected militants have been killed in the area this week.

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A group of clerics and preachers from southern Yemen released a statement claiming that one of their members was killed in the recent attacks, according to Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star.

"Among the four killed in an attack launched by a U.S. aircraft in the al-Qatn district of Hadramout on Wednesday was one of our members, Salem bin Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, who had no link to Al Qaeda," said the statement from the Union of Clerics and Preachers of Yemen's Southern Provinces.

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"He was known for his moderate ... approach that was far from being excessively strict," read the statement.

The AP noted that the US considers the branch of Al Qaeda in Yemen to be the world's most active and has been supporting the Yemeni government in its campaign against the militant group.